Attention, chatterboxes of the world: one day you may be rewarded for your talkativeness with power to juice up your cell phones. Researchers in Korea have figured out a way to turn the main ingredient in calamine lotion (zinc oxide) into a material that converts sound waves into electricity — and eventually, it could be used to power up cell handsets.

In a study, the scientists fashioned a piezoelectric material (nanowires sandwiched between electrodes) out of zinc oxide that generates 50 millivolts of energy.

That’s not enough to power a cell phone — most handsets require a few volts — but the researchers have high hopes that they will be able to generate more power from future versions of the piezoelectric material. So eventually, the more we talk on the phone, the more battery life we’ll have.

Via Network World